Wednesday
Nov182009

The Truth? You Can't Handle the Truth!

This is a follow-up to my previous post on the Paleolithic diet.

Recapping briefly, I was breaking down an article in my local newspaper.  The story had stated that a diet comprised entirely of whole foods, with no processed "food-products," chemical additives, or unnatural hormones was the best move for your health.  This surprised me, not because there was anything wrong with the message, but simply because good advice like this doesn't show up in mainstream media nearly as often as it should.  

But we've only talked about the first half of the newspaper article, so far.  Remember how promisingly it spoke of a whole food diet's health benefits?  Well, the message didn't last.  Rather than keeping the momentum up, here's what followed in the second half:

...realize that, for most people, making such a massive dietary change is asking an awful lot.  In a world of ice cream, cheese and pizza – not to mention wine and beer – it's difficult for many people to imagine never enjoying some of their favourite foods again...

So, in the name of balance, if you want to incorporate a few caveman strategies into your daily routine, then start by choosing lean cuts of fish, fowl and even four-legged animals, or getting your hands on wild game when possible.  Beyond meat, focus on a diet of vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and even starchy vegetables and eggs, and less of the processed stuff, and you can hope to strike a reasonable balance – and do your genes a little good.

As you can see, what started so well devolved into excuses, followed by a list of concessions.  The words I highlighted are qualifiers.  Basically, they're giving you permission to use the back door and sneak out.  They're excuses to avoid doing anything that makes any meaningful difference, yet they still allow you to pat yourself on the back for "at least trying".  By the end of the paragraph, the ammended "easier" version of the diet is so diluted that it barely resembles the original recommendations anymore.  It's basically a meat-based typical Western Diet made with slightly more expensive cuts of meat and a few more fruits and vegetables tossed on top. 

This is the level most health advice falls to today.  It's hard enough to find the right information with all the clutter out there.  To make matters worse, even when someone has the right ideas, they have to dumb them down, diluting their message to satisfy the masses who are unwilling to read about making significant lifestyle changes, let alone act on them. 

It's for this reason that you should never rely on the major news streams to give you any sort of reputable nutrition advice.  They simply don't print the whole story.  Anything worth reading has to be cut until it's appealing to everybody.  When it comes down to it, most people don't want to hear about changing their habits.  Even if they know there's a problem, they just want to be told that what they're already doing is fine.  And if that's what people want, that's what publishers write.  Keep that in mind when you're reading.

 

Note: The original newspaper article which I've referred to above is no longer available via the publisher's website. (Aug.21, 2016)

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Mike Dillman has lived a raw-vegan diet since 2004. Because he's experienced the learning curve firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself. You can visit Mike's blog at Real-World-Raw.com to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle. You can also download his free eBook, "The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes", where Mike lays out the major missteps beginning raw foodists make that undermine their success and tells you how you can avoid them. To get your free eBook click here.

Monday
Nov162009

Paleolithic Diet? Just Another Name for Eating Whole Food

Today, I was flipping through a stack of old newspaper articles and found something interesting; an article titled: "What cavemen can teach us about good eats.  Pre-agriculture diet of wild meat and plants more healthy." 

The article explains how, until the rise of agriculture, the human diet consisted of fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, roots and wild meat, with absolutely no processed foods or chemical additives.  Plants grew in nutrient-rich soil and animals grazed naturally, without hormone injections and pesticide residues.  The article used the term, "Paleolithic eating", and defined it as:

...choosing only foods (or types of foods) that were available on Earth before the advent of agriculture.  That means sticking to a diet of fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, nuts, seeds and tubers (root vegetables), while eschewing [avoiding] grains, dairy and all processed foods.

The story goes on to explain how Swedish researchers found such a diet improved the health of the participants in their study; for example, lowering blood pressure, increasing the body's control of blood sugar, lowering triglycerides (fat levels) in the blood stream, and aiding in the loss of excess bodyfat. 

Humans have evolved over the last 2-3 million years to eat fresh, whole foods.  Considering that, it shouldn't be surprising that naturalizing our diet back in the direction it came from will do us some good.  This is something you and I are already wise to. 

Something new to me, however, was the use of the term "paleolithic diet."  Until I saw this article, I'd never heard anyone use this phrase.  Call it what you will.  A paleolithic diet, a whole foods diet, or drop the meat and eggs and call it a raw-vegan diet. 

The name isn't what's important.  What's important is the understanding that fresh, whole, unprocessed foods are precisely what our bodies are suited to thrive on.  It's nice to start seeing some mainstream media sources paying this a little lip service. 

Note: The original newspaper article which I've referred to above is no longer available via the publisher's website. (Aug.21, 2016)

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Mike Dillman has lived a raw-vegan diet since 2004. Because he's experienced the learning curve firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself. You can visit Mike's blog at Real-World-Raw.com to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle. You can also download his free eBook, "The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes", where Mike lays out the major missteps beginning raw foodists make that undermine their success and tells you how you can avoid them. To get your free eBook click here.

Wednesday
Nov112009

Lack of Energy? Potential Causes...

 

If you’ve been following a raw-vegan diet for a while but aren’t feeling as energetic as you know you should be, take a look at this list. 

Here are a number of possible causes that can contribute to fatigue or lack of energy, and prevent you from getting the most mileage out of your new lifestyle.    

Detoxification:

If you’ve only been raw for a few months, there’s a good chance that you’re still going through the detox period.  If this is the case, your body’s energy is frequently being tied up in the processes of cleaning out built up toxins, which causes the rest of your body’s systems to make do with the leftovers. 

Unfortunately, there really isn’t much you can do about this other than wait it out.  Detoxification is a temporary inconvenience that we all have to go through if we want to reverse our past mistakes.  Rather than let it bother you, hold your head up high knowing that soon it will all pass, leaving your body cleaner and healthier than it’s been in years, and feeling thoroughly refreshed and energized.

Lack of sleep:

We recently covered the importance of sleep, and some pointers on how to get a good night's rest in the previous blog post, but if you missed it, here’s the shorthand:

  • Do your best to stick to a relatively consistent sleeping pattern.
  • “Early to bed, early to rise” is most effective.
  • Avoid eating for a few hours before bed (especially heavy foods).

 Eating too much fat:

There are plenty of reasons to stay away from a high-fat diet.  Improving your energy level is just one of them. 

Remember that fats are very heavy foods.  This means they take a lot of effort to digest, and waste a lot of energy in the process.  If you eat a proper raw-vegan diet, most of your calories will come from fruit, and your fat intake will automatically be down where it should be.  This means digestion will require a minimal amount of effort, and your energy level will be much higher.  Keep in mind that this principle also applies similarly for high-protein foods and most other heavy foods.  

Overeating:

Digestion is a much bigger energy drain than most of us realize.  It’s this energy drain that causes us to feel so tired after a big, cooked meal.  Sure, a certain amount of digestive effort is required every day, but overeating creates unnecessary work and basically turns the body into a living, breathing, compost factory.  Remember the differences between false and true hunger, and try to avoid eating for the wrong reasons — that way you can save your energy for more important things.  

Negative emotions and stress:

Prolonged negative emotions and high levels of stress sap more than just your spirits — they can really drain your batteries as well.  Sometimes these matters are outside your sphere of influence, but do your best to limit the stress you experience in your daily life.  Not only is it fatiguing, it’s extremely hard on your overall health.

Lack of activity:

Sitting around the house all day doesn’t do much for your energy level, or stamina.  It’s important to get up, move around, breathe some fresh air, and get your blood flowing — after all, we want to eat vegetables, not be one!  ☺

Too much exercise:

Of course, it’s always possible to bite off more than one can chew.  If you push yourself to the limit on a regular basis, make sure you give your body the time it needs to recover before your next session.  Without that time to rebuild, you’ll overextend yourself and leave your body susceptible to fatigue.          

Lack of fresh air / poor breathing:

The quality and the volume of the air we breathe have profound effects upon our health and energy levels.  Oxygen is one of the most basic requirements of the cells in our bodies, and getting an abundance of it is essential. 

Yet, despite its importance, breathing isn’t something that we really tend to think much about.  After all, air is everywhere around us, so it’s not like we aren’t getting enough.  You’re either breathing or you’re not, right? 

Not necessarily.  There’s a big difference between getting enough oxygen to simply get by, and truly getting an ideal amount.  Most of us breathe too shallowly and with bad form, and aren’t getting the most out of every breath.  The quality of the air we breathe can also be very poor, depending upon where we live, meaning that our breathing is further hampered. 

The quality of our breathing is actually a huge topic that should be addressed separately.  I'll be writing about it more in a future post.  In the mean time, just keep in mind that getting outside for fresh air and pumping your lungs with a little exercise will do your energy levels a big favor. 

(If you're interested, in learning more about your breathing, follow this link to Optimal Breathing. Michael Grant White, the Optimal Breathing Coach, has many excellent resources available for you.  Start by taking the free breathing test online.  It's definitely worth a peek.

Dehydration:

Water is, by far, the most abundant substance in the human body.  It’s an essential component of every living cell and is involved to some degrees in everything that goes on inside us.  

When our bodies experience a loss of water, all our fluids and tissues dry out and thicken.  Thicker body fluids don’t circulate or flow as easily as they’re supposed to, and cause the body to have to work harder to perform its functions.  This is why we feel tired and worn out when we’re dehydrated.  

Eating a raw-vegan diet makes it much easier to stay properly hydrated, because the foods we eat still possess their natural water contents, but it’s still important to make sure you drink enough water — especially in the summer heat, or when you’re exercising.  

So, in closing...

If you're eating a raw-vegan diet and feel less energetic than you should, take a look at these factors.  There's a strong possibility that you've overlooked one or more of these areas of your life.  If so, a simple adjustment can go a long way toward solving the problem and giving you that boost you deserve.

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Real-World Raw Health and Nutrition:
The raw food diet made easy for your busy life!

Mike Dillman is a self-taught raw-vegan who began his journey nearly five years ago.   Having worked his way through all the challenges firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself.  You can visit Mike's blog at Real-World-Raw.com to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle.

If you want to experience the amazing health that comes with living the one truly natural diet, Mike's new book, "Real-World Raw: The Busy Person's Guide to the Raw-Vegan Diet" is just what you're looking for.  See for yourself. 
To Download a FREE 20-Page Sneak Preview of the eBook click here!

Monday
Nov092009

Sleep; Always a Good Investment.

 

Sleep is an important part of our healthy lives that often gets overlooked. 

When our schedules get busy and we’re pressed for time, the first thing we tend to sacrifice is the amount of sleep we get.  Our days become increasingly long as we stay up later and later, trying to cram in everything that’s on our “must do” list.  

In the short-term, this strategy may seem to get the job done, stretching out our days by amassing a huge sleep-debt is never a good investment

Those eight-or-so daily hours of slumber are invaluable because it’s during this time that the body goes through the processes of resetting, refreshing, and renewing itself.  It’s while we sleep that most of our cells are built, when growth takes place, and when our physical, mental, and emotional batteries are recharged.  Without providing our body systems the time they need for a much-needed period of rest and recovery, everything would soon come crashing to disastrous halt.    

So, what can we do to help ensure that we get the sleep that we need? 

You’re actually making a big step already. 

Eating a raw-vegan diet will greatly contribute to the quality of your sleep.   Most of the foods we eat on the crappy Western diet make effective sleep more difficult.  Whether it’s refined sugars throwing our blood sugar out of whack, hormones and drugs messing with our body chemistries, or simply the plain old discomfort that comes with having a heavy, cooked brick in your stomach, eating the wrong foods can make it much tougher to unwind, relax, and get a decent rest.  By removing unnatural irritants, stimulants, and hard-to-digest foods and replacing them with lighter, raw-vegan foods that digest quickly and easily, you’ll find sleep comes a lot easier.

Beyond switching to a raw-vegan diet, here are a few additional things you can do to improve the restfulness of your sleep: 

If possible, try to sleep regular hours.  Our bodies’ biological clocks encourage us to follow a relatively steady pattern — ideally, one that is somewhat in tune with daylight hours.  The best plan is to get to bed by 10:00 or 11:00 pm.  Going to bed at 1:00 am, for example, won’t be as restful as going to bed at 10:00pm, even if you do sleep for the same number of total hours.  In effect, those pre-midnight hours are more valuable.

Go to bed on a light stomach.  How soon you eat before bed will also have a big effect on how well you sleep and how well you feel the next morning.  You can’t get a good rest on a full stomach.  Just like the rest of your body, your digestive organs need to take a break.  Try to avoid eating in the last two or three hours before bed.  If you really feel the need to eat something before bed, choose something light such as leafy greens or something quick and easy to digest such as a banana or two.  Avoid heavy, dense foods (like most cooked foods, dried fruit, nuts, or avocados) because they’ll keep your stomach occupied all night when it should be resting.

By keeping these simple suggestions in mind and eating a raw-vegan diet, you’ll get the most out of your bedtime hours and awake to find yourself well-rested and full of energy.

=========================================================================

Real-World Raw Health and Nutrition:
The raw food diet made easy for your busy life!

Mike Dillman is a self-taught raw-vegan who began his journey nearly five years ago.   Having worked his way through all the challenges firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself.  You can visit Mike's blog at Real-World-Raw.com to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle.

If you want to experience the amazing health that comes with living the one truly natural diet, Mike's new book, "Real-World Raw: The Busy Person's Guide to the Raw-Vegan Diet" is just what you're looking for.  See for yourself. 
To Download a FREE 20-Page Sneak Preview of the eBook click here!

Friday
Nov062009

Praise for Book: "In Defense of Food"

 

"Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants."

Not very often do you find a truly insightful book on food, health and nutrition.  Even less often does such a book achieve mainstream success.

When it comes to nutrition books, I'm generally very skeptical; and for good reason.  Book publishing is, of course, a business, and a competitive one at that.  Printing and distributing books is expensive, so every time a publisher puts a book into the marketplace, they take a risk.  They have to invest a bunch of money in printing an inventory, yet they have no idea if anyone is going to buy it.  This dilemma can lead publishers to play it safely.  Instead of putting out what's innovative and new, they often stay with the tried-and-true and release what people are already comfortable and familiar with.  In the process, many good ideas are snuffed out and wasted.

When I heard about Michael Pollan's 'In Defense of Food' reaching #1 on the New York Times Non-Fiction Bestesellers List for six weeks, my expectations were modest.  At worst, I expected the next big "Atkins-esque" fad.  At best, I thought it would be yet more rehash and fluff with nothing substantial to say at all – just the usual half-hearted pointers for an audience unwilling to make any meaningful lifestyle changes. 

I had no intention of reading the book until the day I saw Pollan interviewed on television.  He sounded like a man with his head screwed on straight, so I decided to give his book a try, and I was hooked right from the opening line.  "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."  A brilliantly concise line.  Somehow these seven words sum up this incredible book better than any long-winded review ever could.

The following is a quote from Nora Ephron of the New York Times:

I have tried on countless occassions to convey to my friends how incredible this book is.  I have gone on endlessly about Pollan's brilliance in finding a way to write about food – but it's not really about food, it's about everything... Well, the point is, I have tried and failed to explain it, so I just end up giving them a copy, and sooner or later they call to say, "You were right, it's fantastic."

 

Pollan's work walks a perfect balance; being penetrating, informative, amusing and enlightening.  His assertment that we no longer eat food, but instead gorge ourselves on processed "food products" is a message that the masses are in dire need of hearing.  This isn't a diet book in the traditional sense.  The purpose isn't so much about telling you what to eat as it's about serving as a wake up call – a call to arms against of the dangers of today's Western diet.  If I hadn't already taken an interest in natural health many years ago, this book would be the kick I needed to start now. 

If you need something to inspire you to change and take your raw diet seriously, read this book.  It's not about the raw-vegan diet, but it complements it so incredibly well.  Afterwards, when there is no doubt in your mind that change is needed, go back to my book and read it again too.  You'll find it all makes more sense to you than anything else ever has.

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Mike Dillman has lived a raw-vegan diet since 2004. Because he's experienced the learning curve firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself. You can visit Mike's blog at Real-World-Raw.com to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle. You can also download his free eBook, "The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes", where Mike lays out the major missteps beginning raw foodists make that undermine their success and tells you how you can avoid them. To get your free eBook click here.

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